A relatively new education innovation that has come to the CABOCES region is called Breakout EDU. This concept takes the idea of an escape room, a recreational activity where teams work together to get out of a locked room, and turns it into a learning activity for students where they work together to open a locked box. The idea behind this activity is that students will use their brains to solve various puzzles to get inside the tightly locked box which has several various types locks connected to it. These locks can be 3 or 4 digit combinations locks, directional locks, key locks, or even word locks requiring students to spell the correct word to open the lock. Various simulations and games are available on the BreakutEDU website, but teachers are also encouraged to build their own games for their students.
The end of the school year brought with it opportunities for students at Gail N. Chapman Elementary to participate in Breakout EDU and work together to open the box. The 2nd grade and 4th grade classes worked to find missing birthday presents and solve a chocolate mystery in the Breakout games they participated in at the end of the year. The challenge of breaking into the box was a mix of frustration, cheers, and ultimately success. The added difficulty of getting into the box in a limited amount of time brought motivation and challenge that pushed the students to use math strategies, geography, and chronological reasoning and thinking to accomplish the task. Congratulations to the students who didn’t give up, and who were able to proudly say “We Broke OUT!”.
Teachers appreciated the new experience that Breakout EDU was able to provide for their students, and are already discussing ways to incorporate the games into instruction for next year.
By: Rob Griffith, CA BOCES Professional Development
What is the difference between group work and cooperative learning?
To qualify as cooperative work, rather than individuals working in a group, students must need each other to complete the task. Students are expected to participate in tasks that are clearly constructed and necessary for the group's completion and success. The teacher remains active as a circulating resource and, when necessary, a facilitator, but students should be capable of carrying out their tasks. Students, not the teacher, are responsible for accomplishing their tasks in the way they think best, with accountability to each other and to the teacher's standards.
When setting up lessons for successful collaboration in cooperative groups, consider the following ideas that help teachers differentiate between cooperative learning groups versus group work:
Cooperative group activities, unlike whole class discussions or independent work, provide the most opportunities for students to express their ideas, questions, conclusions, and connections verbally. In traditionally structured classes each student has about five to ten minutes of individual time to engage in classroom academic discourse. In cooperative learning groups, that amount of time increases dramatically. Students experience a greater level of understanding of concepts and ideas when they talk, explain, and argue about learning, ideas, concepts, and content with their group, instead of just passively listening to a lecture or reading a text/article or textbook.
In addition, metabolic brain activity accelerates during active constructive thinking, such as planning, gathering data, analyzing, inferring, and strategizing versus passive information acquisition. When the verbal center becomes engaged while information or a task is being learned, more neural activity travels between the left and right brain. When students describe their thinking verbally to the group or work on a group chart, diagram, or project, the new information becomes embedded in multiple brain sites, such as the auditory and visual memory storage areas. Now, with neuroimaging, we know that this multi-centered brain communication circuitry enhances comprehension, making new material more accessible for future use, because it is stored in several brain areas. The more a student is engaged in a learning activity, especially one with multiple sensory modalities, the more parts of the brain are actively stimulated. When this occurs in a positive classroom setting, without stress and anxiety, the result is greater long-term, relational, and retrievable learning. Consider the increased comfort and enjoyment that students have when pleasurable social interaction is incorporated into their learning experiences.
Successfully planned cooperative learning group work can help to support ALL students at ALL academic levels by reducing the fear of failure that can cause them to avoid academic challenges. Well-structured cooperative group activities build supportive classroom communities, which, in turn, increase self-esteem and academic performance.
If you would like to learn more about Cooperative Learning Groups and increased student engagement, please check out our high energy workshops in the upcoming 2017-2018 school year. You won’t regret it!
By: Tessa Levitt and Kathleen Agnello, CA BOCES Professional Development
Have you ever made a mistake? Have you ever faltered with a task that you simply gave up on? Let’s face it: life throws us challenges, and some are more likely to give up on those challenges than to embrace them, struggle through them, and ultimately learn and grow from the experience as a whole. Today, many students are in the same shoes as a large percentage of adults - unwilling to take on new learning, new adventures, new challenges. To help cultivate a willingness to grapple with difficult problems and to persevere both inside and outside of the classroom, many are turning toward the ideals of a Growth Mindset. Through cultivating a culture of growth, students’ minds evolve to having a willingness to try, to stick with a tough challenge, and make the most of each and every bump in the road they face.
Cuba-Rushford Elementary is home to some 60 or so fifth grade students. To help teach these students about having a growth mindset, Beatrice Bottomwell of The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes painted a picture of overcoming challenges and growing from the things that often get the best of us. In hearing main character Beatrice’s tale, students came to find that no one is perfect and that mistakes are okay; so long as we embrace them, and grow from them.
These same fifth graders were given a challenge: cut a piece of paper so that an adult could walk through it. Words such as “impossible,” “hard,” and “can’t” rang through the halls of CRCS. Cuts were made, paper was ripped, and students sat staring wondering how this challenge could ever be fulfilled. In talking about how the initial mistakes were made, and the emotions that the students felt, they learned; they grew. Before you knew it, these same fifth graders that had points of frustration and attitudes of “I give up” were walking through paper left and right!
As some students shared, making mistakes on math problems is common, and while thinking “we can’t” when faced with a tough problem, they come to realize that with effort and commitment, they can get through it. Others felt they simply couldn’t tumble, a recent unit of study in PE. Despite that belief, after practicing and asking for help, that attitude of “I can’t” turned to one of “I can.” Without realizing it, fifth graders were sharing stories of how they took a fixed mindset and transferred it to a mindset of growth.
As teachers, it is important to acknowledge when students are making the most of the mistakes they’ve made, learning how to overcome challenges and those bumps in the road. Whether it be a challenge in the classroom or a challenge in everyday life, having a growth mindset can help adults and students alike to have an attitude of CAN as opposed to an attitude of CAN’T. Students thrive in environments that support their growth as learners. By learning from Beatrice Bottomwell, and by embracing challenges such as the paper activity, students can begin to see that life is more about the journey than the destination; it’s more about the path we take to find success than the immediacy of doing well.
By: Lauren Stuff, CA BOCES Professional Development
“What did you learn today?
What mistake did you make today that taught you something? What did you try hard at today?
– Carol Dweck
Connecting College and Career Experiences for Second Grade Students: Exploring Robotics and Real-World Learning Opportunities at CABOCES
College and career readiness are words that ring through the minds of many, wondering how such learning experiences can be generated to cultivate a sense of the opportunities that exist beyond a traditional PK-12 education. For many, college and career readiness is a facet embedded in the NYS Common Core Learning Standards for ELA and Math and the Next Generation Science Standards. For others, exposure to college and career opportunities is much more than what is taught in a traditional setting; it’s about the experiences and the real-world application we can create for learners of all ages.
Laurie Bushnell and Tracey Keller’s second grade students recently visited the Career and Technical Education Center in Olean, NY to highlight some of the future educational opportunities that they may have, be it as a programmer of various robotics resources, as a cosmetologist, or even as a culinary artist. The experience was intended to give students a greater sense of the opportunities that exist in the real-world, as well as an understanding of the strategies and skills that can help one to be successful.
While fiddling with robots can seem like all fun and games, for the teachers and students alike, the experience was much more. The students were able to gain insight into how robots work, solve posed problems, experience challenge, and learn how these emotions lend themselves to the real-world. Some students felt frustration in trying to accomplish a task or goal, but through their perseverance, their commitment, and ultimately their inherent want to be successful, the students learned.
For Ms. Bushnell and Ms. Keller, giving students exposure to experiences outside the walls of East View Elementary in Olean, NY brings new light to the opportunities that await them in the future. Having students feel a little bit pampered by the cosmetology department and engaged by the prospect of making robots work reinforces the need for teachers of all students to provide learning experiences that enhance exposure to college, to career, and to challenge.
By: Lauren Stuff, CA BOCES Professional Development
Over the past couple of years in New York, the state education department has been developing a new framework for Social Studies instruction, and a new format for the Global History and Geography Regents exam.
The combination of these two changes has brought an opportunity to review and revise social studies curriculum. One district that has spent time focusing on these changes and developing assessments that align to the content and the format of the state changes has been the Pioneer Central School District.
The middle school teachers at Pioneer spent three days in April reviewing their curriculum and developing assessment tasks that reflected the changes from NYSED. Utilizing a stimulus source, such as this map, teachers were able to develop questions and tasks that reflected Geographic Reasoning, one of the social studies practices outlined in the Framework.
Spending time doing this type of curriculum development and work not only is preparing teachers for these changes, but allows them to prepare the students as well for what they will be asked to accomplish when they are assessed with the Global History and Geography Regents exam in the future.
By: Rob Griffith, CA BOCES Professional Development
If it not there already, coding will be coming to a school near you really soon! But why is there so much of a push for this?
Coding has many education implications: it is a way for students to design, create, and express themselves while solving problems, creating games, and having fun. Additionally, there are many opportunities in the area of computer science that students can consider when looking at careers. Website design, app creation, business management and many other fields have jobs that require some understanding of computer code.
Learning to code prepares kids for the world we live in today. There are tons of jobs and occupations that use code directly, like web designers, software developers and robotics engineers, and even more where knowing how to code is a huge asset—jobs in manufacturing, nanotechnology or information sciences. However, career prep is just one facet.
The skills that come with computer programming/coding help kids develop new ways of thinking and foster problem-solving techniques that can have big repercussions in other areas. Computational thinking allows students to grasp concepts like order of operations and cause and effect. Much like following a recipe, coding is systematic and students can see that attention to detail and sequential thinking are necessary to create a workable code.
And then there’s the simple fact that coding is fun! Most kids play games already, so learning the code behind the games takes engagement to a whole new level.
So get ready! Coding isn’t the future….it is the present!
By: Alexandra L. Freer, CABOCES Learning Resources
CA BOCES welcomed special education and inclusion teachers from Andover, Bolivar-Richburg and Olean to collaborate and discuss the research-based practices for special needs students.
Teachers collaborated to understand the clear differences between accommodation-a change that helps a student overcome or work around the disability. Removing the barriers not content, modification-a change in what is being taught or expected from the student. (Change in content, expectation, etc.) and an intervention-a specific skill-building strategy implemented and monitored to improve a targeted skill (i.e. what is actually known) and achieve adequate progress in a specific area (academic or behavioral). This often involves a changing instruction or providing additional instruction to a student in the area of learning or behavior difficulty.
Discussion about Executive Function and the impact it has on learning sparked a lot of interest. The Executive Functions are skills everyone uses to organize and act on information. These skills are required to help perform or accomplish everyday life tasks. One of the eight key functions is working memory. Working memory helps the child keep key information in mind.
Teachers were provided the opportunity to network and share strategies that support the students they work with. Teachers were provided opportunity for inquiry and research for new strategies and best practices for services and interventions for students we teach.
Next workshop is August 22, 2017 at CA BOCES – The Barn, Olean
Facilitators: Marguerite Andrews, Deanna Wilkinson and Karen Insley
When thinking about valuable texts to use to develop a rich curriculum, classic literature, news articles, textbooks, and poems typically come to mind. But an excellent resource that has been hiding in the shadows like Batman for far too long is finally getting the recognition it deserves: graphic novels.
Graphic novels are extremely beneficial to support learning in classrooms. First, students have to use the same reading skills to understand a graphic novel that they would use for a short story, informational text, or play. They still have to make inferences and predictions and use context clues. In addition, analyzing specific frames, art styles, and pages is a great way to develop students’ close reading skills. Second, the visuals within graphic novels make the text more accessible for struggling readers. Graphic novel versions of classic literature have helped students better understand the language and themes of challenging texts. Third, research has shown that reading graphic novels develops empathy. Reading about someone’s tragic life experience, for example, is one way to feel for that person, but actually seeing what he/she experienced and the emotion on his/her face adds an additional layer. Finally, students find graphic novels engaging. To get a sense of this engagement, one only needs to look at the biggest hits in pop culture today: superhero blockbuster films, The Walking Dead, and many, many more. The time is now to start exploring using graphic novels in the classroom.
Teachers throughout the region came together on April 26th to do just that. After a regional survey to educators, Art Spiegelman’s Maus, a graphic novel that depicts the experiences of the author’s father during the Holocaust, was selected to be used in the development of a curriculum kit. Facilitated by CABOCES Staff Specialists Cece Fuoco and Brendan Keiser, educators first brainstormed a list of essential questions that a unit could explore through Maus. These questions served as the foundation of our curriculum unit. From there, educators searched for videos, activities, news articles, interviews, images, and a variety of other resources that a teacher could use to help students be able to answer the essential questions. Over forty resources were found and uploaded into a Moodle page. These educators will meet again on May 17th to finish completing the kit. In the end, we are anticipating enough resources and over twenty lesson plans to support a four-week curriculum unit that educators throughout Cattaraugus and Allegany counties can check out from SNAP. The kit will include class copies of both Maus Volume 1 and Volume 2, two copies of MetaMaus (a text that provides in-depth knowledge about Maus), and all of the curriculum resources developed.
If you are interested in participating in this exciting collaborative effort, please feel free to register for the May 17th session, as well as the two-part July 11th and August 17th sessions that will be developing a curriculum kit on graphic novel versions of Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth.
By: Brendan Keiser, CA BOCES Professional Development
Carol Dweck, a professor of Psychology and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, explains that there is something very important about the power of yet or not yet.
Dweck’s research reveals that people have views about themselves that change the way they interact with others, respond to failure, and deal with challenges. These views about themselves are labeled mindsets: the view you adopt for yourself.
This idea of a growth mindset can also be called the “power of yet.” In other words, you are not there yet, but you can get there. Dweck argues that the power of yet is in direct contrast to the “tyranny of now.” If you believe that you can grow and learn, you have the power of yet on your side. In contrast, if you feel that your intelligence is fixed and cannot be changed, you are stuck in the “now,” with no possibility of a “yet.” There is a high school in Chicago that lists students failing grades as “not yet,” rather than “fail,” indicating to students that they can succeed, they just are not there yet.
Are we raising our children for now or yet?
We all want our children to dream big dream. We want them to believe in the power of yet. We want them to see problems as challenges, not as crises. Research has shown that our mindsets are not set in stone. In other words, you can move from having a fixed mindset to having a growth mindset. But, how can we do this?
At BOCES, we have been offering Growth Mindset Workshops for teachers and administrators. Over 200 teachers have been trained over the past 2 years. Check out the upcoming offerings for next year at the following link; http://dev.caboces.org/iss/calendar
By Tessa Levitt, Staff Specialist for Professional Development
In December the Board of Regents approved new Science Standards that will take effect in July of 2017. This means schools will need to coordinate their transition away from 1996 Science Standards into new standards so that students are prepared for assessments that will likely be implemented in three years.
It is predicted that new Science assessments will begin in 2020, three school years away. With this in mind, CA BOCES will begin transitioning Science Curriculum Kit titles so that students reach their assessment prepared. Title transition will take place over a three year period. The chart below outlines the planned transition.
All curriculum kit titles can be explored at our new website: www.advancingSTEM.com
Explore the new New York State Science Learning Standards: www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/mst/sci/nyssls.html
Teachers from across the Cattaraugus-Allegany region participated in Day #2 of our 6-8 Math CLC. Karen Insley and I walked our participants though several hands-on, cooperative, and challenging activities. The activities included looking at PBL (Project Based Learning), structures for teachers to use with their students, including cooperative grouping activities, being sure to stress the importance of student to student collaboration with mathematical content.
Teachers were given a task (project) and were asked to work on the beginning stages of it. They saw how this type of learning could be incorporated into their lesson planning, and how PBL could look in a mathematics classroom. Teachers saw the structures modeled, and then discussed how they could use the structures in their own classrooms. Many ideas were shared, including ideas for extension for advanced students, as well as modification for students who may need more scaffolding.
Teachers were given time to create lessons, and materials they could use in their classrooms immediately, as well as in the future. They walked away with over five different structures to use with their students. The day was successful, and teachers could collaborate and learn from each other as well as from the facilitators! Our next 6-8 Math CLC is on March 14, 2017.
By Kathleen Agnello, CA BOCES Professional Development
Curriculum, instruction, and technology seem to change constantly to meet the needs of students, but grading practices have largely remained the same for the last 50 years. Standards-based grading is not a new idea, but over the past few years, it has come out of the shadows and has taken center stage under the spotlight. Ultimately, standards-based grading ensures that thoughtful practices are in place that allow student achievement, connected to content standards, to be accurately calculated and reported, so teachers can target their instruction and interventions. Most districts want an accurate and effective grading system, but the task to move towards standards-based grading is quite daunting.
The purpose of this post is to offer you some suggestions on where to begin if you are interested in adopting standards-based grading practices. When it comes to standards-based grading, two roads diverge, as Robert Frost once said. Some educators are more interested in developing standards-based report cards, while others are more interested in updating their grading practices. Therefore, you will need to choose your own adventure as you continue reading this post. Whichever road is less traveled for you, it’s important to know, though, that standards-based grading is most effective when grading practices and report cards both adopt current best practices.
Section A: Standards-Based Report Cards
Section B: Standards-Based Grading Practices
Developing a standards-based grading system does not occur over night, but with thoughtful implementation and a commitment to best practice, students can be a part of a fair grading system that accurately reports on their ability and achievement.
Note: On March 9th, we will be having another workshop on standards-based grading. This would be a great opportunity to connect with other districts who are currently exploring and/or implementing standards-based grading practices. Click here for more information: http://register.caboces.org/seminar/view/324?workshop_id=100
By: Brenden Keiser, CA BOCES Professional Development
"Breakout EDU games teach critical thinking, teamwork, complex problem solving, and can be used in all content areas."
Working on a team of about 15 people, students work to find clues and solve puzzles in an effort to “breakout” of a locked box during the 45-minute challenge. The clues came in many forms: digitally with QR codes and email, entangled in art, knotted ropes, videos, and some even hidden under black light. One clue leads to another and the excitement in the room is tangible as participants try to make sense of what information they uncover. And then, they beak out. Along the way, students learn about the history of communication.
Inspired by this though-provoking approach to teaching and learning, regional educators were introduced to the game-based learning approach at the second session of New Teacher Academy on December 1st.
Considering the application of BreakoutEDU in the classroom, teachers were excited about how well it promotes cooperative learning and students working together towards a common goal. Within the challenges, students can take roles that suit their learning styles. The most exciting part is that through the studying of clues and trying to figure out the puzzle, learning happens organically, without teacher led discussion.
BreakoutEDU is an excellent way to generate student interest and knowledge about a topic or to demonstrate and apply skills they’ve just learned in the classroom. There are hundreds of game options available across every content area.
Video on BreakoutEDU
For more information about BreakoutEDU, please visit their website. Want to see if your students can breakout? Contact Learning Resources today! CA BOCES has 5 BreakoutEDU kits available.
By: Sarah Wittmeyer and Shannon Dodson, CA BOCES Professional Development
“Enough students are suspended every year to fill forty-five Super Bowl stadiums.”
These challenges can tie to any content area and encourage kids to look at themselves as engineers. They also help develop 21st Century Skills with every step of the process.
If you’re looking for some challenges to do in the classroom, there are plenty ideas you can find with just a simple search. Most use simple materials you probably already have in the classroom. Here are four examples using cups, cubes, and craft sticks: http://frugalfun4boys.com/2015/06/11/4-engineering-challenges-kids/
By: Clay Nolan, CA BOCES Learning Resources
For many children, adolescents, and even teachers, playing a game, especially a videogame, is a preferred pastime. Something about a game keeps players engaged as they try over and over again to accomplish a skill, complete a task, or advance to a next level. The challenge can be all-consuming as players spend considerable amounts of time gaming, even seeming to lose consciousness of the world outside the game. Why do games merit such attention? It may be because games meet students in Lev Vygotsky's (1978) Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). The difference between what a learner can do without help and what he/she can do with help, the ZPD exists between what is known and unknown, where classroom teachers attempt to meet their students with new knowledge, and new learning occurs. It is the instructional sweet spot.
Games intuitively capture a player’s attention at his/her ZPD, as initial rounds capitalize on a player’s prior abilities and skills, and each additional level forces him/her to learn a new skill or acquire new knowledge to be successful. Despite the glazed-over eyes and tears of frustration that can accompany a string of losses, the player returns again and again, each time with a little more understanding of the key to mastery.
But how is it that games feed a player’s engagement despite multiple unsuccessful attempts? Bruner Wood (1976) expanded on Vygotsky's work to suggest that supports, or scaffolding, within the ZPD can be removed as soon as skills become automatic. Wood referred to scaffolds as, “Those elements of the task that are initially beyond the learner’s capacity, thus permitting him to concentrate upon and complete only those elements that are within his range of competence” (1976, p.90). One element of successful learning is the ability of the teacher to engage students in the content long enough to provide the scaffolds and supports needed for students to succeed in the ZPD.
To achieve engagement, games captivate players emotionally, enticing them with the quest to be played. Game designers hone in on a player’s desire to succeed or win by building the sense the player can triumph through fair play. This embedded emotional element mesmerizes players and leads to deep engagement and the acquisition of skills and content, and tickles the player’s intrinsic desire to succeed. The strong emotional connections of games further enhance a sense of engagement with their task. Fear, surprise, disgust, pride, triumph, and wonder all act as engagement keys for game play (Farber, 2015). “Designers can customise an experience best suited to unlock certain feelings” (Farber, 2015, p.60), making even stronger connections to the game and creating a commitment by the player to continue.
Both Vygotsky and Wood describe recognizable parallels to players that self-select games in their ZPD. Gamers learn rules using peers as supports, play, and soon--without help--experience gratification as they play, and even lose. As players develop, they select games requiring a variety of skills or, as skills become automatic, games that are more challenging. Games players find too easy or too hard lie outside the ZPD and lack the keys to engagement, causing players to become passive or give up. Ralph Koster, author of A Theory of Fun for Game Design, points out, “The definition of a good game is therefore one that teaches everything it has to offer before the player stops playing” (2013, p.46). Koster asserts both the educational and entertainment value of games by writing, “Basically, all games are edutainment” (2013, p.47).
Games, almost in any form, are so good at engagement, maintaining attention, and advancing a skill that they also make terrific teaching tools and have led to the game-based learning philosophy. “Game based learning describes an approach to teaching, where students explore relevant aspects of games in a learning context designed by teachers. Teachers and students collaborate in order to add depth and perspective to the experience of playing the game” (EdTech Team, 2013).
Through game-based learning, teachers pair the benefits of games with learning in their classrooms. Andrew Garvery, a middle-level English teacher at Randolph Central School and professed “gamer”, is one teacher using the blended game design curriculum Zulama to bring the engagement of game design to his students. Andrew’s students are answering the questions, “What is a game? Why do we play them? Is a game a representation of society? How is society represented in a game?” (Garvey, 2016). His students are not using a traditional educational games approach to master vocabulary or key components of content, rather games are the engaging content in his class. Students in Andrew’s classroom are, by design, becoming game designers.
Games, through many of the strategies highlighted below and built within Zulama’s curriculum, become everyday pedagogical tools in the learning process.
- Games allow students to explore the history of games, their impact on society, society’s impact on games, and various games played throughout history. They are rich with history and have been impacted by the cultures in which they were created and played. Students might benefit from learning the components of games (Fig. 1) from the past. Students can then make predictions about the cultures while they are playing the game. Those predictions can be used throughout units of study of geographical places and world cultures. Students playing Monopoly may predict something largely financial happened during the early part of the twentieth century. Nine Man Morris, played during the early Roman Empire, or the Royal Game of Ur, one of the oldest known games, might provide windows into a time unknown to students and may be helpful in helping students connect to an unknown culture and time.
- Encourage students to dissect core components of games, game principles, and emotional design elements with students (Fig. 1). Dissection of games may help students understand the engaging elements of games and how they can be applied to games of their own design. Students might compare and contrast game elements from various games and discuss why some games are more engaging than others. Students can also make connections between game elements and how they might begin to engage others through the use of games.
- Allow students to create their own games using a design process that includes player feedback and iteration of their games. Implementing a design process that includes playtesting allows students to react to player feedback and iterate their design (Farber, 2015). Authentic play of student created games also creates an environment of high quality student output as students build their games, and it also creates an environment of giving and receiving peer feedback. Teachers may also ask students to use an existing game and ask students to recreate, through iteration, its design. The process of iteration allows students to “level-up” their game and make it more appealing to future players.
- Assign students to design abstract games within content areas. Try asking students to design a Math game using a deck of cards, a board game paralleling World War I or A Farewell to Arms, or a word game related to William Shakespeare's “King Lear”. Crossing content and concepts from the classroom with game creation can serve as needed application and attempts to automatize information through game play.
- Work with students to explore story elements of games as related to context, plot, and character development. Have students write a script for a current game or use a script as the basis for creating a game. It might also be interesting for students to write reviews of existing “storyline heavy” video games they play at home.
- Finally, apply game design to add context to coding experiences in web and app design. Programs like Zulama offer a rich gaming context to digitally designed games. Using software like GameMaker to create original video games or creating 3D worlds with Unity allow students to put coding and programming skills to use in an authentic way in the classroom. Involving students in feedback discussions and the iteration process using their original created video games yields high engagement. Curriculum programs provide classroom teachers with instructional tools related to programming that might not be native to most educators, yet provide context for coding and programming tools used by many students.
Whether your favorite game is Monopoly, Minecraft or Mancala, when you are gaming, you are a student and learning is happening. Almost magically, the game has placed you in your Zone of Proximal Development and, chances are, you can’t get enough, even when you’re losing. Incorporating game-based learning strategies to instructional design can bring the magic of the game to the heart of learning in any classroom.
EdTechReview, Editorial Team. (2013, April 23). What is GBL (Game-Based Learning)? Retrieved February 25, 2016, from http://edtechreview.in/dictionary/298-what-is-game-based-learning
Entertainment Software Association. More Than 150 Million Americans Play Video Games - The Entertainment Software Association. Retrieved March 11, 2016, from http://www.theesa.com/article/150-million-americans-play-video-games/
Farber, M. (2015). Gamify your classroom: A field guide to game-based learning. NY, NY: Peter Lang.
Garvey, A. (2016, March 10). Zulama Webinar [Online interview].
Koster, R. (2013). Theory of Fun for Game Design. O'Reilly Media.
Vaillancourt, Beverly. (2014). Zulama: Game Design, Game Principles, and Emotional Design Elements. Used with permission.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Wood, D., Bruner, J., & Ross, G. (1976). The role of tutoring in problem solving. Journal of Child Psychology and Child Psychiatry, 17, 89−100.
By: Tim Cox, CA BOCES Instructional Support Services
During the year, all teachers create and administer three interim assessments that are rigorous, aligned to the standards, and mirror the final assessment for the course, whether it is a state exam, Regents, or final exam. Teachers use eDoctrina and Castle Learning to link their assessment questions to their content standards. Both programs generate item-analysis reports with multiple data points, such as which questions students struggled with/mastered, the percentage of students struggling with/mastering a standard, and answer distribution for each question.
The DLT uses these reports to make initial observations of the data to help prepare for the data meetings with teachers. When the DLT meets with the teacher, the team works together to make observations, inferences about the data, and an action plan. Meeting as a team is essential, especially for the last task, because everyone can work together to share new ideas and practices to help target areas of weakness, instead of just making an action plan where you reteach the content in the same way. Together, the DLT makes SMART goals with the teacher (Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely) to best meet the needs of his/her students that he/she hopes to meet by the next interim assessment.
This process has been very successful. Jennifer Cappelletti shares, “Over the past two years, we have made using data effectively a main focus in the high school. With each data cycle we have evaluated the process and made adjustments to make the process more worthwhile. This year, we added cross-curricular teachers at the same grade level examining each other's data together. The result has been a better understanding of each other's curriculum and collaboration on reaching common goals.”
Finally, to strengthen the data-driven culture, the DLT has been involved in CA-BOCES’ Informed Teaching Series. The team participated in four sessions, doing a deep dive into Leaders of their Own Learning, a book that details how to create a culture of student-engaged assessment that puts students in the driver’s seat in self-assessing their progress. Upon completing the program, the DLT met and identified five best practices they want to implement into their school culture. Great work, Franklinville teachers!
By: Brendan Keiser, CA BOCES Professional Development
The United States has developed as a global leader, in large part, through the genius and hard work of its scientists, engineers, and innovators. In a world that’s becoming increasingly complex, where success is driven not only by what you know, but by what you can do with what you know, it’s more important than ever for our youth to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of information. These are the types of skills that students learn by studying science, technology, engineering, and math—subjects collectively known as STEM.
Coding (also called programming or developing) is telling a computer, app, phone or website what you want it to do. Some educators and experts are calling it the ‘new literacy’--a subject so important that every child needs to know the basics to excel in our rapidly changing world. Four- and five-year-olds can learn the foundations of coding and computer commands before they can even write and spell words. Older kids can learn to code through classes, mentors and online tutorials (see below for learn-to-code resources for all ages).
Learning to code prepares kids for the world we live in today. There are tons of jobs and occupations that use code directly, like web designers, software developers and robotics engineers, and even more where knowing how to code is a huge asset—jobs in manufacturing, nanotechnology or information sciences. However, for most kid-coding advocates, reasons for learning to code run much deeper than career prep.
Clay’s session started with the basics of human coding and advanced to applying this basic knowledge to a coding app or coding program on the ipad. The teachers began to make a code for other teams to follow in order to build a tower out of cups. The basic concepts of human code allows teachers and students to practice and understand the language of a coding program better. After the towers were built by following the developed codes, teachers explored two coding apps: Hopscotch and Code.org.
By: Tessa Levitt, CA BOCES Professional Development
On March 16, Mrs. Hamer’s Kindergarten embarked on their first hands-on coding experience under the expertise of technology integrator Mark Carls. cooperative learning groups of 4-5 students, under Mark’s guidance, programmed our Bee’s to maneuver through the grid provided.
Mrs. Hamer’s Kindergarten class is eagerly awaiting Mark’s next visit when they will be applying their knowledge of coding with the tangible Bee-Bots to coding with the Bee-Bot App.
As children, we often loved to play games. Whether it was a simple card game on a rainy day, Red Rover with all the kids in the neighborhood during summer vacation, or a competitive game of Monopoly, games are very much a part of life – and of learning. Bringing games into the classroom instills a series of game-based principles, and provides an opportunity for direct interaction with content. Through engaging in the risk and reward of a game, or being immersed in a challenge-based experience, students are progressing through the game to fulfill a final goal or end result.
At a recent Genesee Valley professional development day, teachers explored the practice and principles behind game-based learning. Participants played games, created games, and discussed how games could be transferred back into the classroom.
By: Lauren Stuff, CA BOCES
the STEAM initiatives many are looking to employ in their instructional practices. One such resource that can get a makerspace off the ground is LittleBits, easy-to-use electronic building blocks that snap together to help students in their creation of various inventions. LittleBits
have made their way into Cattaraugus-Allegany schools and are beginning to take hold in makerspaces and classrooms alike.
At a recent training, districts participating in the Eisenhower Consortium were given the opportunity to explore LittleBits and their application in the classroom and school-wide makerspaces. Teachers learning about the technology were given a series of challenges and asked
to use the building blocks to create useful tools that could help provide a solution to the given problems.
Take for instance, the case where the power goes out. What would one do? Reach for a flashlight of course, but what if there were no flashlight to be found? Could LittleBits help provide a solution? Teachers engaged with the blocks and snapped them together to make a useable flashlight. With toilet paper tubes, some tape, and a series of inter-locking electronic blocks, the problem came to be resolved.
LittleBits are accessible through our Learning Resources department and can be checked out for use in the classroom today.
Contact Lauren Stuff for more questions or support at email@example.com.
The reason for the importance of these days was to explore more about the “Maker Movement” where people look to ‘make’ something to help fix a problem, help others or just because they want to make something! The importance of Hummingbirds and littleBits in that process is because they offer students a chance to easily ‘make’ or build their own ideas. After exploring different projects like creating a doorknob, a flashlight and a bubble maker, these teachers looked at finding ways to incorporate littleBits into their classrooms and spaces they have back in their district. As with the Hummingbird training in January, all of the teachers left with creative ideas for their students. We at CABOCES Professional Development can’t wait to see and hear all the neat products that the students create.
By Mark Carls, CA BOCES
Arts In Education
Cattaraugus Little Valley
CLC (collaborative Learning Community)
New Teacher Academy
Next Generation Science
Odyssey Of The Mind
Teach Like A Champion
Virtual Field Trip